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Three artists' eyes on PoCo
About three years ago, when Port Coquitlam resident Michael King was in France, all he wanted to do was paint the picturesque surroundings.
The artistic European experience got King to think: “Why don’t I do this at home, too?”
Then, last year, as a way to mark PoCo’s 100th anniversary in 2013, King drew up a submission to exhibit some of his oil paintings of PoCo city scenes and landscapes.
Municipal staff liked his idea; however, they also asked him to make the display into a group show for the centenary. And so Denise Maxwell, a graphic designer and fellow oil painter who King had met a year earlier, and textile artist Catherine Dumaine — a Place des Arts’ faculty member — were invited to showcase their versions of PoCo as well.
The results are now on the walls at the Leigh Square Community Arts Village in an exhibition titled An Artist’s View of Port Coquitlam, which officially opens on Saturday.
Their pieces are spread over two buildings: the larger ones in The Gathering Place — including King’s Strolling Down Main Street and Grazing — while the smaller art including 54 works measuring 8” by 8” are in the Outlet. And next to many of the artworks are Google maps as a way to identify the location of each scene.
An industrial designer by trade, King said he has seen PoCo change significantly since he moved to the city 11 years ago. “I think it’s changed for the better,” he said. “When I first got here, I stayed away from the downtown because it didn’t seem like a community to me. There was the Golden Ears Hotel at the time. Now that’s gone, there seems to be more pride in the area.”
King said his travels in France opened his eyes to what’s in his backyard. “I believe the more you live in a place, the less you ‘see’ of it and that’s not always a good thing. Port Coquitlam is a beautiful place and it should be celebrated.”
• The opening reception for An Artist’s View of Port Coquitlam is on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Leigh Square Community Arts Village (behind PoCo city hall). There will be a live musical performance by Charles Wes & Avery Croft as well as refreshments. The exhibit runs until Jan. 13.